1953 Fiat Topolino
Year of manufacture1953
FIAT 500 C GIARDINIERA BELVEDERE (1953)
CHASSIS N. 434557
ENGINE: IN LINE 4 CYLINDER
DISPLACEMENT: 569 CM3
POWER: 22 CV
BODY STYLE: STATION WAGON
Launched in August 1936, 83,266 examples of the Fiat 500, immediately privately nicknamed the “Topolino” (Mickey Mouse) because of its headlights that recalled the ears of the Walt Disney character, were produced before the war and another 38,750 between the end of hostilities and 1948. Modified, improved and renamed the “500 B”, another 21,262 examples were produced over the two year period 1948-‘49.
Therefore when the 500 C was launched in 1949 it was already a tried and tested model of which over 140,000 examples had been produced for around a full ten years: it was undoubtedly the greatest Italian motorcar success to date.
However the project’s creator, the brilliant Dante Giacosa, still had a series of improvements in store that would see the light in the definitive and more modern version - the 500 C - which joined the Italian motorcar stage from 1949 to 1954, 376,368 examples of which were produced, a volume hitherto unimaginable. This result was due to the improvements made to the product and, above all, to the manufacturing process. In fact, immediately after the war the big American manufacturers gave Fiat advice and technology, without forgetting the funding provided by the Marshall Plan.
Thus the bodywork was simplified without making it uglier, with many more common parts shared between the various versions. The “Giardiniera Belvedere”, which was born as the “B” in 1948, abandoned the complex and delicate sides in a mixture of metal, wood and Masonite in order to adopt a one-piece pressed steel panel that made the production of the body much quicker and simple and the finished product more solid, safe and durable.
The Giardiniera, which was created to get around the main drawback of the saloon, the tiny space inside the passenger compartment, could accommodate four people and a bit of luggage: luckily the Italians of the time were shorter and thinner than us and were used to traveling light! In this way the Giardiniera was able to satisfy the requirements of young families as well as the professional needs of the many small companies being set up in those years.
In all the 500C Giardiniera managed to perfectly fill a segment of the market where demand was very high and competition inexistent.
Mechanically speaking the Topolino has always been a jewel with its overhead valve distribution, lightweight structure (600 kg!), hydraulic brakes and many features which, until then, had only been seen on vehicles of a superior class. It could easily be adapted and tuned for racing: in fact, many a Topolino car has taken part in the Mille Miglia or donated its mechanical parts in order to produce those ‘Specials’: racing cars realized by many mechanics, garage owners and engineers all over Italy and beyond.
The 500 that we are offering at today’s auction was owned for many years by a Tuscan Fiat employee and underwent careful restoration of the mechanics and bodywork a few years ago. It was subsequently used very little and, therefore, today is in optimal condition having just been restored but already having developed a light patina.
This Topolino will offer the purchaser the chance to enjoy a protagonist of Italian motoring and lifestyle: in fact numerous examples of these cars appeared in the great Italian movies of the 1950s and 1960s.
Moreover it is also admitted to all the most important events, starting with the legendary Mille Miglia and is, therefore, able to also offer very exclusive satisfaction.
The vehicle is in excellent mechanical condition but since it has not been used for a long time, for safety reasons, we advise the purchaser to have it checked over and to replace the fluids, filters and perishable elements.